John Isley and Billy James, known as John Boy & Billy, are American radio hosts based in Charlotte, North Carolina. They primarily broadcast on 99.7 WRFX-FM "The Fox." Their comedic morning program The John Boy & Billy Big Show broadcasts from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. eastern time in several southern states via syndication through Clear Channel Communications.
The show is especially popular in North Carolina. Their broadcasts cater to a "redneck" crowd, and is often simulcast on both classic rock and country music radio stations. The format consists of talk segments intermixed with contests and mild skit-based humor. Broadcast states include North Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
The duo frequently interview musicians, comedians, NASCAR drivers, professional wrestlers, and other public figures. Robert Earl Keen, Killer Beaz, Tim Wilson, and Rodney Carrington are occasional guests. They also market grilling sauce in a variety of flavors which can be purchased in supermarkets in the southern United States.
John "John Boy" Isley - John Isley (born March 28, 1956) is from Graham, North Carolina. He is the host of the Big Show. Before entering comedy, he worked as a gas station attendant, but started in radio by running the tapes on his hometown radio station in 1975. One of his early radio gigs included a stint as an afternoon and evening DJ for WRJZ-AM in Knoxville, Tennessee. Isley has been married for over 20 years and has three sons. His catchphrases include "Oowa oowa oowa," "Where's my big bag?", "Love ya, mean it!", and "I care, I'm just not going to do anything about it." John Boy is an avid sports fisherman and often refers to his boat, the "Duh Huh".
Billy James - Billy James serves as the co-host. He is from Gastonia, North Carolina, and attended a technical school in Atlanta. His first radio job was at WADA-AM in Shelby, North Carolina. Billy has been married since 1986 and has two children.
Robert D. Raiford - (born December 27, 1927) offers political and social commentaries during the show. He is from Concord, North Carolina, and majored in communication at the University of South Carolina. Raiford started broadcasting in 1944 by commentating on baseball games. His first radio presentation job was at WEGO in Concord, North Carolina. Raiford has appeared in 28 movies; he usually plays judge characters. He is known for his quote "Who says that? I say that!" which is also the title of his book containing excerpts from his commentary from the show. A running gag has been made about the amount of whiskey Raiford drinks, though Raiford often says "I spill more than I drink."
Randy Brazell - Executive Producer Randy Brazell (born 1961) is from Gastonia and attended the same high school as Billy. Randy is married with one daughter. He frequently participates in the show's skits. Randy's background in radio goes back to his childhood: His father owned a radio station. He is occasionally teased by rest of the cast for being "the pretty one" or for being a "geek".
Jackie Curry-Lynch - Assistant Producer Jackie Curry-Lynch (born May 22, 1962) is from Grottoes, Virginia. She originally began as the front desk receptionist, but has become a regular part of the crew. She participates in a number of the skits. She is referred to frequently by the hosts as "Jackie and the Twins," in reference to her breasts, as she has breast implants. She especially enjoys oral speech. She is the sister of former Charlotte Hornets shooting guard, Dell Curry.
Jeff Pillars - (born July 13, 1958) is from Kalamazoo, Michigan, and is a writer for the show. He writes many of the skits for the show and performs several of them. He has also acted in a number of movies and television shows.
Marci Moran - Marci Moran is a Dallas, Texas native. She is the Guest Coordinator, but often finds herself on air alongside the others, especially in the "Playhouse" skits. She is nicknamed "Tater". Marci and her husband Trey have been happily married for the last 7 years.
Barry Hopson - Barry Hopson (born October 7, 1965) (Big Show listener Barry Hopson, as John Boy refers to him) is from Tyler, Texas. He is the show engineer and "2000-2005 Big Show Employee of the Year."
Marty Lambert - Charlotte native Marty Lambert is in charge of affiliate sales and syndication for the show. Whenever Marty is mentioned on the show, a musical jingle is played of a chorus singing: "Smarty Marty, the One Man Party!" He is frequently the subject of jokes on the show, particularly about his fashion sense, and about an incident where someone at a Big Show public appearance commented to John Boy, "I didn't know Marty was gay!" For the record, Marty is happily married to a woman.
Jay Wilson - Jay Wilson (born October 23, 1960) is from Kingston, New York. He is the senior account executive for the show.
Steve Burgiss - Steve Burgiss (born January 14, 1974) is from Charlotte. Formerly referred to as "Steve the Idiot Intern" by John Boy and Billy, Steve is now no longer an intern and has become the Weekend Director for the show. The hosts used to frequently tease Steve about his usage of the expression "Dude!" He was the "2006 Big Show Employee of the Year."
Donnie Presley - Donnie Presley (born February 17, 1964), also from Charlotte, is a former police officer and current Director of Merchandising for the show.
Jeff Kent - Jeff is the program director for flagship affiliate WRFX 99.7 in Charlotte, and frequently hosts "The Best of the Big Show" Saturday broadcast.
There have been many characters played on the show. Some of the most popular are listed here.
* Reverend Billy Ray Collins is perhaps the longest-running, most recognizable, most frequent, and most popular of all characters ever to have appeared on the John Boy and Billy Big Show. He is the archetype of the Southern radio preacher, in the style of Oliver B. Greene or Lester Roloff. He pastors the Sword Of Joshua Independent Full Gospel Pentecostal Assembly, which is located "just off State Road 23 on the Frontage Road". (Played by Billy James)
* Oliver is a soft-spoken, gentle sounding intellectual gentleman prone to wickedly sarcastic personal attacks on anyone and everyone, especially the Big Show crew. Oliver responds to fan mail and always introduces his segments with his calmly spoken trademark, "Well, well, well…" accompanied by gentle violin music. (Played by Jeff Pillars)
* Hoyt and Delbert are John Boy's friends, a pair of rednecks who share a trailer in the mobile-home park known as "Casa de Double Wide". Delbert has never actually been heard on the show, but John Boy frequently calls Hoyt and is told a story about some terrible calamity that's going on in Delbert's life. Usually this involves Delbert's new girlfriend of the week. When asked by John Boy how something went for Delbert, the answer is invariably the distinctly pronounced catchphrase: "NOT TOO GOOD." (Played by Billy James)
* 'Ricky B. Sharpe and his wife Lucy R. Sharpe are a married couple that live in Dothan, Alabama, and are, as their names sarcastically suggest, not too sharp. Ricky is the frequent butt of jokes involving his very short height. When he gets flustered, he begins using word fragments to express his frustration, such as in the sentence, "I was going up there to the god-dang-pee-bah-gee-doo-put-kot store!" (Ricky B. played by Jeff Pillars and Lucy R. played by Marci Moran)
* Brenda Sharpe-Buckner is Ricky B. Sharpe's sister who also lives in Dothan, Alabama. She's "Fred's husband" – a fact that she reiterates constantly. Brenda and Fred constantly engage in shoplifting and petty theft from Wal-Mart, usually for hams and other food items. Brenda usually ends up appearing in court in front of Judge Frank "Fuzzy" Reinhold (played by John Isley), either standing trial or speaking on behalf of her husband. (Played by Marci Moran)
* J.D. is the spokesperson for "J.D.'s 24 Hour Drive-Thru Pawn & Gun Auto Parts Pharmaceutical Adult Gift Bait 'n Tackle Discount Cigarette Outlet". A fast-talking Southern man, he advertises all manner of bizarre sales and specials that his store is offering, capped by the catchphrase "What a Southern boy needs". (Played by Randy Brazell)
* Raiford Raves offers social commentaries during the show every hour. Formerly, this was every half hour. "Who said that? I said that! Robert D. Raiford on the John Boy & Billy Show".
* Dumb Crook News: Real world news, reporting arrests of criminals who managed to get themselves caught in hilarious ways.
* Dell's Den: Dell's Den is a real restaurant and bar in Valley, Alabama. John Boy and Billy frequently play recordings of the "Ad Talk Guy" who records their answering machine messages. He is a big fan of the Auburn Tigers, and his most common quote is "War Damn Eagle!" Dell's Den has an "Ad Talk" line with often hilarious rambling messages about anything and everything. The number for this line is (334) 756-3336.
* The John Boy and Billy Playhouse: Character-driven skits acted out by The Big Show cast, sometimes calling themselves "The Not Ready for Drive Time Players" for this occasion. A good number of the skits are set in a fictional Southern town called Brushywood, though some have been set in such diverse places as Ireland, Dothan, Alabama, the Wild West, and Thibodaux, Louisiana.
* Ax Ike: Ike Turner performs in the segment "Ax Ike." He is supposed to be the same Ike Turner who was married to Tina Turner. He offers advice on interpersonal relationships — most particularly he advises people that they should administer (or that they might receive) "breaking their foot off in the crack of yo' butt". Ike is known to have trouble with the pronunciation and definitions of big words. He always introduces his segment with, "YO! What's up?" and ends with, "Peace out." (Played by Jeff Pillars)
* Karl Childers' Storytime: Karl Childers is the main character from the movie Sling Blade, a character played by Billy Bob Thornton in the movie. This version is imitated by Big Show crew member Jeff Pillars. The segment usually features a well known story (some examples are Cinderella and Dracula) told in the twisted way that typifies the character of Karl Childers. On every Saturday show since July 22, 2006, one story was played during the first hour of the show, each one in the order of their first broadcast.
* Bro on Call: Marvin Webster is a black man that visits the show to commentate on race issues in a comedic fashion. He has commentated on things such as Star Wars, NASCAR and Hurricane Isabel. His parting catchphrase is "Y'all think about it, I'm Marvin Webster." (Played by Billy James)
* Mr. Rhubarb's Storytime: Mr. Rhubarb is a soft spoken kid's show host not unlike Captain Kangaroo or Mr. Rogers. He has a segment called "Mr. Rhubarb's Storytime" in which he tells stories and jokes that are usually incredibly corny. (Played by John Isley)
* Willie P. Richardson: is a prank phone caller from Nacogdoches, Texas — these are actually comedy skits by Willie P. Richardson, the Phone Prankster, who is not part of The Big Show cast.
* Top 10 List: A humorous list of the top ten reasons for something, similar to that on David Letterman.
* Letters to the Mailbag: John Boy & Billy read listener letters and e-mails on the air.
* Classic Bit of the Day, 9:45 AM EST run of a favorite bit requested by a listener
* Tatertainment News, Humorous look at the life and troubles of celebrities as written in several entertainment magazines that John Boy allows Tater to subscribe to.
* Yuck It Up Time, Raiford's term for the early (6:00 to 6:30 AM EST) comedy comments to get the mood going for the rest of the show.
* Married Man: A humorous skit with a hapless superhero (Married Man) and his sidekicks, "College Buddy" and "Drinking Buddy". They often thwart the plans of the arch nemesis, "Divorced Man", between the plaguing calls by Married Man's overbearing wife. The theme song to "Married Man" is a parody on the 1967 Spiderman theme. It ends with a pardoy of the end of each Batman episode, with Billy James saying "Tune in next time, same married time, same married channel."
* Mad Max: A frequent skit of an angry, blue collar redneck who is fed-up with just about everything. He usually raves about homosexuals, PETA, EPA, and the government. He is portrayed by John Isley.
The Big Show has a number of call-in contests where callers have a chance to win an assortment of prizes (the "prize package"), usually donated by the show's sponsors. Here is a list of some of the contests, past and present.
* Outburst is the first of the morning trivia quizzes. It is based on the "Dates in History" that John Boy goes over between the top of the hour and the contest time. He gives the contestant five seconds to name three items from a category included in the "Dates in History". If the contestant is successful in all three of the "Dates in History" categories, they win the prize package.
* John Boy Jeopardy is a daily trivia quiz. John Boy and Billy ask a question, and callers take turns calling in with their guesses ("We'll take caller nine and keep goin' 'til we get a winner."). After each guess, a sound bite of a man (reported by some sources to be John Isley, while other sources reported him to be Lindsay Buckingham) shouting "Survey says!" (a reference to TV game show Family Feud) is played. A correct answer earns a ding, a musical fanfare, and the prize package. Incorrect answers, however, receive a buzzer.
* The Current Events Quiz is a daily quiz on the latest news. Each bit begins with John Boy asking, "You ready, girls?" and a sound bite of the "John Boy and Billy Pep Squad" — a group of cheerleaders — announces: "Ready? OK! Comb your hair and take a whiz, it's time for the Current Events Quiz! Taaaaaaake C! Yay!" The Current Events Quiz is simple in format: Billy asks the caller a question and provides three answers. The first two are realistic sounding answers, but the "C" answer is always a "comedy option" punchline. The caller must choose C to win the prize package, even if it is the wrong answer. There have been instances where people, despite the fact that they are (repeatedly) told to take C, will choose A or B. This results in a buzzer, and allegedly their name is put on the "Wall of Shame", a wall which has a list of names of people who have failed the Current Events Quiz. On "Reverse Angle Friday" of each week, instead of callers calling in for the Current Events Quiz, listeners can email or fax their phone number to The Big Show, and they will choose one and call them back.
* This Old Spouse is a new game for 2006. Similar to The Newlywed Game, John Boy and Billy take calls from two married couples, with the stipulation that the husband and wife may not be in the same location at the same time. JB&B ask both husband and wife personal questions about themselves on different lines so that they cannot hear each others' answers, and each person takes turns trying to give the correct answer to what their spouse replied. This often results in some kind of argument between the couples. The couple with the highest number of points wins the prize package.
* The Stupie Quiz was a quiz administered by former Big Show employee Summer. This was a competition between John Boy and a caller. The questions usually had glaringly obvious or easy answers, but John Boy would never seem to get them right. Callers would have to "buzz in" by pressing a number on their touch-tone phone and John Boy had a bell to signal his buzz-in. This game came back in March 2006. It will be played on Fridays. The Stupie Quiz is administered by Tater.
* The Chain Game was originally called "Chain Reaction" without the knowledge that there was a version of the Chain Reaction TV game show on GSN. John Boy plays against a caller in this game. During the sixty-second time limit, one player starts the round with a word in a certain category, and the other has to continue by giving another word in the same category that starts with the last letter of the previous word, and it goes back and forth like that. The last one to have provided a word wins the round, and the game is best-of-three. In the first round, John Boy gives the category, and in the second, the caller supplies the category.
* The Gong Show is a contest where listeners send in tapes of their singing talent. John Boy and Billy will play each song on the air until one of the judges hits the gong, thus causing a gong sound, or until the end of the song. If a song makes it to the end, the contestant who sent in the song is declared the winner of the contest. In most cases, there is no winner.
* Wordy Word (originally called The Couple of Hundred Dollar Pyramid: Similar to the $25,000 Pyramid, originally had a very humorous format in which Billy had to use $5 words for a common phrase and the contestants had to buzz in to be the first to give the common phrase. Later versions featured hip hop language and other formats.
* "Beat the Blonde": The Blonde was originally Lisa, then later became Tater, and sometimes was another female guest. The Blonde is given a question and usually three choices of answers. Then the guest has to say whether they agree or disagree with her choice.
* Mayberry Trivia: This was a trivia quiz on the The Andy Griffith Show that was played on Fridays. Many of the questions were remarkably obscure. After John Boy became too successful against call-in contestants, they started requesting would-be contenders to Mr. Isley's title to submit their challenges in writing. It ended in a large tournament.
* Christmas Trumpet: This contest occurs only at Christmas time; a contestant attempts to identify a Christmas song that John Boy tries to play on a trumpet. Unfortunately for the contestants, John Boy's trumpet skills leave something to be desired.
* I Like Cheese!: A former contest in which the contestant is in a drive thru at a fast-food restaurant and must get the cashier to tell him/her to drive around after ONLY saying 'I like cheese!'. A variant of this game was done where the contestant could only say, "Pickles give me gas."
* "Redneck Idol": Three callers competed against each other and were judged by the Big Show version of the Idol judges.
* Dollywood Squares was like Hollywood Squares, except that there were just one or two panelists to question and none of them represented a specific square on the board; the contestant chose the square he/she would attempt to win. This game was first played when Dolly Parton was a guest on The Big Show, hence the name.
* Tater and the Bee: A Friday game started June 30, 2006, callers are given sixty seconds in which to spell considerably easy words (e.g. "vowel," "war," "children"). After that, Tater is given a minute to spell several words that are longer and harder (e.g. "acceptable," "acquire," "acquit"). Whoever gets the most right wins. On the next Friday, both were given equal footing.
Big Show Traditions
One of the "traditions" of The Big Show is that first time callers are always played a cow "moo" sound effect.
* During Outburst John Boy used to offer a new car if the contestant could answer all nine questions in 5 seconds or less. A contestant did this and was sent a Matchbox car, upsetting the contestant.
* They are also notorious among the employees of radio stations who syndicate their programming for never ending on time. This can cause innumerable problems for radio stations who must air commercials at a set time by contractual arrangement with their advertisers. Radio stations around the world commonly are synchronized with Greenwich Mean Time also known as Co-ordinated Universal Time or simply Zulu, so that events can be timed out properly involving the use of the same time database, usually maintained by the US Naval Observatory and available online at any instant. By JB&B refusing to stick to the conventional practice of ending their program at precisely the top of the hour, it causes DJs at affiliated stations to have to sit and wait several minutes each day after they should have been done for the signal that the program is over and local programming can begin. The signal is the same "moo" that first-time callers get.
Their official website mentions that they do have to time-delay their programming, so this may be to blame for some of their discrepancies. http://www.thebigshow.com/links_qa/misc_questions.html#top
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